Congregational Emails Apr. 3, 2020

Dear Congregants,

As we move into increasing isolation from one another, we will be feeling the strain. If your emotions are like mine, they are close to the surface these days. It may take longer to complete routine tasks and you may find that you do not have the same amount of energy. Someone wisely told me to choose only what has to be done and what best matches my gifts in order to sustain your ministry and your relationships. I offer this same advice to you. Be gentle with yourselves and with those you love. The stress of isolation and worry takes a toll, so make space for this—sleep more if your body needs sleep. Eat well and you may want to resist the junk food/alcohol fix—because it won’t fix anything! Find time at least once a day for meditation. I find that if I begin and end my day with meditation and resist the urge to look one more time at the COVID-19 stats, I allow the adrenalin surge to abate a bit. Otherwise, it just keeps ramping up higher and higher each day.

I offer you two links to meditation sites. The first is to a daily Taizé meditation that I receive on an app on my smartphone. This link takes you to a page where you can download the Taizé app for your phone and receive these daily reflections:

I also follow Richard Rohr’s daily meditations (he is a Franciscan priest) and I am attaching a link to his daily meditations: You can subscribe for free to a daily emailed meditation.

These days, our church ministry is focussing on the planning and recording of worship services.

Please check our website for the link on the home page that will take you to Holy Week services for Palm/Passion Sunday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday. If you would like to take part virtually in a Maundy Thursday service, we invite you to watch the live-stream service with St. Andrew’s River Heights United Church on April 9 at 7:00 pm. on their Facebook Page: You are asked to have a towel, washcloth, basin and small candle ready as you participate from home in this service.

On April 19, we will be having an on-line Earth Day service. I invite you to imagine that you are the earth. What message would you like to give to us humans? Please email your brief reflections, poems, pictures or paintings by Easter Sunday and they may find their way into the on-line April 19 service.

I am SO grateful especially to Peter S., who is spending hours upon hours each week recording and editing the services. I am also grateful to Ray M., the recording assistant, Christina T.-S. our singer and Dorcas Windsor our organist/pianist. This is an amazing worship team. A big thanks to Debbie McLeod, who is researching music and copyright behind the scenes.

Our second major project is to ensure that every member and adherent in our congregation is contacted at least once a month just as a check-in. To do this, I am asking every group, committee, team, UCW Unit, choir, etc. to contact their members monthly and send me a list of all the names. I will then develop a list of those not on any of these lists and have volunteer callers begin to contact them. We now have 11 volunteer callers but we need a few more. I would like to have 20 volunteer callers so that those making the calls have a manageable list. If you are able to help with this, please let me know.

We have a list of 10 volunteers ready to make deliveries or run errands for those house-bound, but to date we have not had any requests from the neighbourhood or from our congregants. Please don’t hesitate to call if we can help!

Please remember that I am still available for pastoral care through emails or phone calls. At this point, in cases of emergency, including pending death, I am also allowed into hospitals and retirement homes.

We have set up a confidential prayer circle that is now meeting virtually once a week. If you have any prayer requests or would like to join this circle through Zoom, please let me know. With the family’s permission, I am asking all of you to keep Janet B. and her family in your prayers as she is in her last days.

This is the time of year when we receive donations for Special Appeals. These help various, local non-profit organizations. If you are able to help support our special appeals this year, at a time when they probably need it more than ever, please contact our church office. The deadline for us to receive Easter Appeals is Easter Sunday.

We continue to support West Broadway Community Ministries and offer the following update:

  • There is a sanitation and hygiene protocol in place.
  • A temporary full-time volunteer coordinator/floor manager has been hired. Her name is Lara Rae. Lara has been working at the Just a Warm Sleep program, so she was a quick study in terms of the sanitation and hygiene requirements. Laura Everett, our previous volunteer coordinator, will now be working full-time at St. Matthews.
  • Only scheduled volunteers and staff are allowed access to the building. WBCM is trying to restrict the total number of people in the building to 10.
  • Demand for lunches and emergency food has not changed significantly from ‘normal’ operations. However, we are anticipating that there will be an upsurge in demand as people who have been laid off run out of money.
  • Everyone working at WBCM remains well, if a bit tired.
  • ** Last week, Westworth sent a cheque for over $830 to WBCM. This included all donations received for WBCM since December. Marion and Allan M. used this money to buy emergency food supplies. At this moment, the emergency food pantry and overflow pantry are very well stocked. West Broadway is grateful for your faithfulness in supporting the people of the WBCM neighbourhood. The need is more pressing than ever, and we welcome your donations. A cheque written to Westworth with “WBCM” on the memo line will ensure that the pantry continues to be available to the many in need.
  • ** Westworth’s regularly scheduled West Broadway Lunch for the month of April will not go ahead as planned. Please consider making a donation to the bag lunch program at WBCM by writing a cheque to Westworth with “WBCM Lunch Program” written on the memo line. Your Outreach Team is grateful for your continued support of this vital ministry!

The building of Westworth United Church may be closed, but our ministry is still very much alive. We are grateful for your continued financial support. Those on PAR (Pre-Authorized Remittance) allow the church to have regular income. If you would like to be put on PAR, please contact the church office. You may also mail a cheque to the church or make an e-transfer through the church office. In addition, donations may be made on our website, using the donate button on the upper right corner.

Remember—we are not alone. With God and with virtual community, we will make it through this challenging time.

Stay well,



Heather Lavery, Church Office Administrator: (204) 489-6974 x20      1750 Grosvenor Ave., Winnipeg MB R3N 0H9

Rev. Loraine MacKenzie Shepherd: (204) 489-6974 x22


Heather Lavery

1750 Grosvenor Ave.

Winnipeg, MB  R3N 0H9

Westworth United Church   (204) 489-6974 Ext. 20


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